Ash dieback disease comes closer to Plymouth
CASES of the fatal tree disease -ash dieback - have been now recorded close to Plymouth, according to the Forestry Commission.
The Chalara ash dieback disease has been found in the area surrounding the city for the first time.
Three sites close to the city have confirmed an outbreak of the disease, one in Looe, South East Cornwall and two close to Dartmoor; one to the east towards Newton Abbot and another towards the north, closer to Exeter.
There have also been confirmed cases near Wadebridge and Camborne.
A spokesman for the Forestry Commission confirmed that the disease was found in areas of recent planting and had been traced forward from nurseries which have supplied the trees.
He also said that there was a low risk of Chalara dieback spreading from these sites.
The discoveries come as plant health experts undertake a survey of about a thousand sites which have received saplings from nurseries where the disease has been found.
The outbreak of ash dieback began in the UK in February 2012, when infected trees were sent from a nursery in the Netherlands to a nursery in Buckinghamshire.
However since then older infected trees have been found in East Anglia, Kent and Essex with no apparent connection with plants supplied by nurseries.
The disease attacks any species of ash and once a tree is infected it can't be cured, usually leading to tree death.
The spores are produced from dead leaves between June to September.
It is possible that they could have travelled on the wind from mainland Europe, as well as on birds, clothing, footwear or vehicles travelling from infected sites.
However the full extent of the spread of the infection into Devon and Cornwall may not be realised until spring when the disease becomes active.
There are currently no confirmed infections in the wider environment in these areas.
To report a case of Chalara dieback or for more information contact the Forestry Commission on their Chalara helpline: 08459 33 55 77, which is open 8am - 6pm every day. Alternatively email them on firstname.lastname@example.org.